I went pick up an iPad 3G for a family friend since I don't mind visiting the store from time to time to check out the foot traffic and such. Afterwards, I headed over to Borders to hang out a bit and get some reading and organize my thoughts.
A couple of years ago, I would not have been able to find a table to sit down at. Last night (if I recall correctly, the last time as well) I was able to browse around and then sit down at one of three tables that were not occupied. In the past, if I really wanted to wait for a table, I would have had to hover a bit and then finally, if luck would have it, find a table just as someone was leaving.
Last night the traffic there was light. Okay, it's a Monday night. I'm gonna try to go a couple of more times this week to see how it really is during the week day but I've got a feeling things are not going to be any better.
I also noted a cut in hours at Borders as well. It used to be opened until eleven PM each night while it closes at midnight on Friday and Saturday. Now, it closes at ten every night except for Sunday, which closes at a shocking seven PM.
I wonder if this is just more than a bad economy at work here. Perhaps the shoppers have gone online to Amazon with better deals, free shipping, and not taxes in some states like CA (you're suppose to report your sales tax amount when you file your tax returns but let's be honestly, very few folks do).
How about ebooks? Can that also impact book sales as well?
I see places like Borders, much like the library was a generation or two ago, as the epicenter for social interactions. Regardless of where you get your books these days, bookstores, even mega chains like Borders and Barnes and Noble, offer an opportunity to discover books.
I like the people there and I hope things turn around soon. I happen to live in an area with access to three or four other bookstores and cafes (with a bit of driving) but not everyone will go to the length I would to try working in different environments.
Again, I really hope things turn around soon. I think I will rethinking options about buying ebooks and supporting the local economy a bit more. Also about saving trees versus the pleasure of flipping through a magazine or a book.